Vinyl record-love offers hope for Charleston music stores

Image by Flickr user julianrodImage by 20080730_vinyl.jpg Vinyl records offer a long-debated way of listening to music, one that allows for improvements over many digital formats, especially MP3s.

With the recent troubles in the realm of local music stores, a resurgance in vinyl listening and sales is raising of hopes of salvation.

The Post and Courier talks about the topic:
"We're definitely seeing more interest in vinyl lately," says Mike Vick, manager of Cat's music on James Island. "We're increasing our vinyl collection, about half new, half used," Vick told Preview.

And that seems to be true across the nation, The Boston Globe writes:
Mike Dreese, cofounder and chief executive of the New England music store chain Newbury Comics, says his company's vinyl sales, which had been increasing at an annual rate of about 20 percent over the past five years, are 80 percent higher than they were at this time last year.

Even Amazon wants in on the resurgence of vinyl, but is it about the discs or also about the purchase itself?But, what is it that's causing the resurgence? Wired wrote last year:
Pressing plants are ramping up production, but where is the demand coming from? Why do so many people still love vinyl, even though its bulky, analog nature is anathema to everything music is supposed to be these days? Records, the vinyl evangelists will tell you, provide more of a connection between fans and artists. And many of today's music fans buy 180-gram vinyl LPs for home listening and MP3s for their portable devices.

"For many of us, and certainly for many of our artists, the vinyl is the true version of the release," said Matador's Patrick Amory. "The size and presence of the artwork, the division into sides, the better sound quality, above all the involvement and work the listener has to put in, all make it the format of choice for people who really care about music."

Vinyl store map
Find out where to get vinyl, or add to the map if the store's not on it.Sure, vinyl records offer an arguably superior listening medium, but it's also about the experience. With vinyl you get the physical object, a large, gorgeous cover, and, if you buy it locally, you get the record store experience. An until-recently record store owner recently wrote in Newsweek:
Celebrities, musicians, journalists and, of course, the everyday people who lived in the neighborhood would frequent my shop and hang out at the counter as if they were in a local pub. We'd shoot the breeze about everything, not just music. Some would drown their sorrows. I served no booze, but it didn't matter. I had a duty, not just as a business owner and music maven. I was expected to listen. While a customer was in need of a Miles Davis recommendation, Larry, a neighborhood fixture who in 13 years had never bought a thing, relentlessly pined over his ship that still hadn't come in. It was double duty, and I loved it. " 'Kind of Blue'," I suggested. Both Larry and my customer said, "Yes."

So when all-vinyl sections (like a recent effort by Amazon) pop up it's questionable if they'll see the same resurgence, as vinyl can often be as much about the purchase as the music.

The Post and Courier's write-up also points out five local locations you can pick up vinyl (map).